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Ivory smugglers bust by African task team

In 2015 alone 32 tonnes of ivory were seized in south-east Asia coming from East and West African ports.

FILE: Ivory seized in Kenya. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG – Several key members of an ivory smuggling pipeline moving tonnes of elephant tusks from Africa to Asia have been arrested by a cross-border African team.

Results of the intensive six-week secret operation have been released by the Lusaka Agreement Task Force.

In 2015 alone, 32 tonnes of ivory were seized in south-east Asia coming from East and West African ports.

The latest arrests show how the smuggling has been orchestrated.

Africa has moved ahead of Asia in going beyond seizures and making meaningful arrests of wildlife criminals.

Nevertheless, African authorities rely heavily on cooperation from South-east Asian law enforcement.

The latest operation nabbed seven key players of a syndicate that smuggled a tonne of elephant tusks from Uganda to Singapore via Kenya.